Ladies polo is currently enjoying the spotlight with the first Argentine Ladies Open—and an all-American team reached the semifinals: Santa Maria de Lobos, comprised of Dawn Jones, Erica Gandomcar-Sachs, Tiffany Busch and Clarissa Echezarreta. They won two games and lost two (13-2 in the semifinals against the amazing Ellerstina), which is a great accomplishment.
“It’s great to be here, a real honor and we learned a lot. We were determined, confident and we weren’t going to give up. We knew that it was going to be competitive. We reached the semifinals this time, but we’ll get to the top soon.” – Dawn Jones
“To be part of the first Ladies Argentine Open was a pleasure because of the quality of the fields and the level of play exhibited by all the women. I think there’s someone up there who is proud of us,” Busch said, referring to the unforgettable Sunny Hale. “We’re very fortunate, lucky and happy to have played in the first Open,” added Echezarreta.
Gandomcar was extremely happy. “I’m very excited we got so far. What would Sunny Hale do? It’s incredible, all around you are the horses and people.” The first Argentine Ladies Open has finished for the only all-American team, and it was an experience to remember.
Jones spoke of the Santa Maria de Lobos team, and had some interesting things to say: “We’re proud of where we come from…We have many friends rooting for us over there. We thought it was quite unique to have an all-American team; the other teams had women from England, Argentina, France, and Germany so we felt that it was special to represent America. We hope to inspire other girls in the U.S. and around the world, but mostly in our country.”
“Sunny Hale was an exceptional human being, beyond her polo skills and horsemanship,” Jones continued. “I loved the ideas she always had to expand ladies’ polo while playing very competitive men’s polo at the same time. Now we have a very solid platform and ladies’ handicaps, the American Polo Horse Association, and now the U.S. Open Women’s Polo Championship™ and there are more women joining them. We hope it will happen in Argentina too, you guys are going to see a large number of new members coming to Argentina. We are going to encourage other women to play the Open, and hopefully we’ll be back to play again with the same team, having learned from our experiences and mistakes. It was quite the school, the last game in particular. I hope to play the Open next year. Santa Maria de Lobos is a home for us and I would love to get together and do it again, I think this is important. What would Sunny do? She would be proud and she was our fifth player. She was certainly in our minds.”
Beyond the performance of the all-American team, the first Argentine Ladies Open Polo Championship final is set—and they are the same two teams who will play the men’s final on Saturday, December 2, a couple of hours later: La Dolfina and Ellerstina.
In the semifinals, Ellerstina defeated Santa Maria de Lobos 13-2. The winners are a very balanced foursome, led by Lia Salvo and Hazel Jackson. La Dolfina Brava beat La Dolfina Brava II by an 11-5 score, in the second semifinal.